A taxi driver who was accused of deliberately ramming his vehicle into a crowd of pro-democracy protesters is to receive a HK$520,000 donation from a pro-Beijing group.

Henry Cheng Kwok-chuen was in the driving seat when his vehicle mounted a pedestrian walkway outside the Cheung Sha Wan government offices on October 6. At least one woman was injured as the taxi smashed into a storefront. The 59-year-old driver was then surrounded and beaten bloody by a large crowd. His vehicle was later smashed up.

The woman suffered a serious fracture of a thigh and was hospitalised, according to RTHK. The driver was also hospitalised for rib fractures and other injuries.

october 6 taxi ramming
Photo: Inmediahk.net.

The pro-Beijing group Safeguard HK visited Cheng on Tuesday at Princess Margaret Hospital and promised to donate at least HK$520,000 to help him.

Kennedy Wong, a member of the National Committee of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference, and Stanley Ng, a Hong Kong delegate to the National People’s Congress, visited Cheng and gave gifts to Cheng’s daughter.

YouTube video

Wong Tai-hoi, secretary-general of the Taxi Drivers and Operators Association, also visited Cheng. Wong said Cheng had regained consciousness but his condition was still serious.

He said his phone was taken by protesters and his family was being doxxed – a practice whereby a person’s personal data is shared publicly.

“His family is receiving death threats from rioters,” Wong said.

Hong Kong has seen a growing trend of vigilantism as protesters, wary of police intervention, have taken the law into their own hands. They describe such vigilante justice as “private resolution,” but the methods are also met with detractors from within the movement who say that such actions will cost them public support.

Protesters claimed that the taxi driver intended to hurt people with his vehicle. However, according to the police, the taxi “lost control” and drove onto the road after people smashed the windshield with metal rods.

No charges have been laid against the taxi driver.

october 6 taxi ramming
Photo: United Social Press.

In the early hours of Tuesday, police arrested a man surnamed Ho for rioting in connection with the incident.

Officers said that – in the fracas – the driver lost HK$20,000 in cash and a watch worth approximately HK$140,000. The case had been classified as “rioting, wounding, criminal damage, theft, and traffic accident causing injury.”

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Kris Cheng is a Hong Kong journalist with an interest in local politics. His work has been featured in Washington Post, Public Radio International, Hong Kong Economic Times and others. He has a BSSc in Sociology from the Chinese University of Hong Kong. Kris is HKFP's Editorial Director.